Kubo was feeling a little unsettled. He had seen the same guy in his Math class and his English class, then he saw him again in the library a little off campus, and then they crossed paths again when Kubo was walking back to the dorms. Of course it wasn't too odd to see the same people on the college campus, but to run into them four separate times? That was weird.
The guy didn't look too suspicious. He had really spiky hair and wore a red hoodie. In fact, Kubo might have found him kinda cute, if he wasn't paranoid that the guy was following him.
And he told his roommate, Eggs, all this while he got ready for his night shift at the coffee shop- minus the part about the guy being cute, of course.
“I don't know, Kubo. I'm sure it's just a coincidence.” Eggs said, working on his homework for physics. “I don't think it's anything to worry about.”
“But, Eggs, four times in one day?” Kubo raised his eyebrow at the other guy. “I mean, how many strangers do you see four times in one day? Especially out of class.” Kubo was raised paranoid, constantly on the run from abusive family, who used other people to try to get to him. So sue him if he was still paranoid about people! It had taken a while for him to warm up to Eggs, but he had quickly realized that the guy was a sweetheart that wouldn't hurt anyone (unless they really deserved it).
“Kubo, I'm sure it's fine. You know he probably thinks you're following him, too.” Eggs pointed out. He had a point. If Kubo had noticed the stranger, the stranger had probably noticed him too. That didn't make him feel much better, though. He was still a little unsettled.
“Go to work, you'll be late pretty soon!” Eggs said.
“Oh shoot, it's almost 11! Okay, see you later, Eggs!” Kubo waved goodbye to his roommate as he rushed out the door. He grabbed his bike, and hurried to the coffee shop, Bad Ass Coffee, that he worked for. It was open 24 hours, which the college students often took advantage of, especially when finals season was near and they needed to study. Kubo was still new in town, and so he got stuck with the night shifts. He usually worked from 11pm to 5am, and he found it rather nice, actually. He was a night person by nature, always had been, so it actually worked out okay for him.
Kubo arrived at the coffee shop and parked his bike in the back of the building, making sure to lock it down and keep it out of view. He walked inside to find the place absolutely dead, with only the current barista, a guy a few years older than Kubo named Wybie, reading through his chemistry textbook. The majority of the workers there were college students, with a few older people and fewer younger kids working there as well. Wybie looked up at Kubo and smiled.
“Hey Kubo.” He greeted, closing the book.
“Hey Wybie. Chemistry test coming up?” Kubo asked. Wybie groaned.
“Yes, on Wednesday. I'm so not ready.” He complained.
“That's what you get for studying to be a scientist.” Kubo laughed lightly.
“If only there weren't so many tests.” Wybie sighed. “I'm waiting for Coraline, and then I'll be out of your hair.” Coraline was Wybie’s long-term girlfriend, and she sort of scared Kubo. She was intense, snarky, and had a dark sense of humor.
The bell above the door jingled, signaling that customers were coming in. Kubo and Wybie looked over at the door, getting into service mode, before seeing that it was just Coraline. Except Coraline wasn't alone. She was talking to a very familiar boy with spiked hair, and Kubo’s eye widened in surprise.
“You!” He gasped, pointing at the kid.
“Me?” The kid jumped and pointed at himself, clearly confused. Then the boy's blue eyes widened in surprise. “You!” He exclaimed, pointing back at Kubo.
“What the fuck?” Coraline said with a raised eyebrow.
“You're the one who's been following all day!” Kubo and the blue eyed boy accused at the same time.
“Well that was unsettling.” Wybie muttered.
“What the fuck are you talking about?” Coraline demanded.
“I've seen this guy about 5 times today!” The boy said, lowering his arm but not his suspicious gaze.
“I've seen you five times!” Kubo defended himself. “And you're the one showing up at my work!” He definitely had a point there. He couldn't follow a guy while he was working, but the other kid could definitely show up at Kubo's work.
“Oh my god.” Coraline rolled her eyes. “Chill out, you guys. It's really no big deal, it's just a fucking weird coincidence.” Kubo turned his accusing look to her.
“So you know this stalker?” He demanded.
“Yeah. Kubo, this is Norman, Norman, that's Kubo.” She introduced. “Wybie, you ready to go? I got tickets to the mice circus!” She said.
“Yeah! Uh, what about Norman?” Wybie asked.
“Oh we just met here, I can get home.” Norman said quickly, and Wybie shrugged. He grabbed his textbook and followed Coraline out the door.
Once the couple had exited, Kubo and Norman were left alone in the cafe, an awkward silence filling the room.
“So, Norman. What are you doing here, if you didn't come with Coraline?” Kubo asked, getting straight to the point. Norman's face was turning red, and Kubo found it oddly endearing. Stupid brain, being unhelpful! But no matter how endearing, Kubo wasn't letting the guy off the hook so easily.
“I-I just needed some strong coffee! I swear! I have an essay due tomorrow, so I really need to finish it tonight. The other coffee place I usually go to is closed right now, so I figured I'd give this place a try!” Norman explained, waving his hands defensively in front of himself. Kubo eyed him, still suspicious.
“Alright. What coffee do you want?” He asked, pulling out a coffee cup.
“Uh, just b-black coffee? Large? I can add in my sugar and cream, right?” Norman asked hesitantly.
“Yeah, the cream and sugar is over there.” Kubo pointed to the small table, and quickly fixed the drink. While he did that, Norman set up his laptop on a table, pulling out his headphones. He would work at his dorm, but his roommate had made it clear he wasn't allowed back tonight.
“Did you get kicked out by your roommate?” Kubo asked as he brought the large coffee to Norman.
“Yeah. He has a date tonight, and made it very clear I wasn't allowed back tonight.”
“Where are you gonna sleep, then?” Kubo asked. Kubo had had his share of not having a place to sleep, but he had a feeling that this kid hadn't. Kubo's experiences were pretty unique.
“Um, I wasn't really… planning on sleeping tonight.” Norman said sheepishly.
“Well you can stay here I guess. I can't stop you.” Kubo said.
Throughout Kubo's shift, it remained quiet. He and Norman talked about favorite movies, books, all sorts of things, and Kubo found that he really liked Norman. The guy was awkward and seemed uncertain of himself, but he was fun. As it reached the end of Kubo's shift, Kubo found that he really enjoyed talking to Norman. He didn't really want it to end. So when the employees for the next shift arrived, Kubo sat across from Norman.
“You have a pen and paper?” Kubo asked. Norman blinked in surprise.
“Oh, yeah, yeah.” Norman pulled out his notebook and pen from the laptop bag and pushed it to Kubo. Kubo flipped it open to a blank page and scribbled down his email and phone number.
“Here, call me sometime. Maybe we can actually go out somewhere sometime.” Kubo said with a smile. Norman blushed bright red, his face the color of his hoodie.
“Y-yeah. That'd be great.” Norman told him shyly. Kubo grinned and stood up.
“I gotta go- gotta catch some sleep before class in a few hours. See you later.” And with that, Kubo left, leaving a stunned, but happy, Norman in the coffee shop.